by Sita Brahmachari
12-year-old Mira has always looked up to her Nana Josie, an artist who has lived her life to the full. But as Josie's health declines, Mira has to cope simultaneously with the challenges of growing up, and letting go.
Dealing sensitively with issues of bereavement, puberty and first love, Artichoke Hearts is a moving coming-of-age novel, from a debut author with a fresh new voice.
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
My May Day Diary
Saturday 30 April
OK, here goes. Facts are the easiest . . . start with the facts. I’m twelve years old today. Twelve years and four hours old. I was born at seven o’clock in the morning. So, to be exact, twelve years, four hours and twenty-two minutes old. My twelve-year-old self is neither tall nor small, neither skinny nor ‘plumpy,’ as Krish calls Laila. My twelve-year-old self has long, dead straight black hair, and dark brown eyes that my dad says sometimes turn black with emotion. My skin’s brown, but not brown enough to hide my blushes. Looking in the mirror, which I do quite a lot recently, I would say I don’t love myself (my teeth have come down a bit wonky), but I don’t really mind how I look. My Nana calls me a ‘beauty’, but she would, wouldn’t she?
Like I said, facts are easiest, but none of this really says very much, does it? Maybe words just aren’t my thing. Give me a paintbrush any day. My school reports always say stuff like ‘Mira now needs to work on building her confidence and contributing to class discussions’. Now that is something I really hate to do. The main thing about me is whenever I open my mouth to say anything in class I blush up bright red so that before I’ve even opened my mouth, everyone knows how embarrassed I am, and after that I just clam up and lose the will to live. The mad thing is I actually can’t stop thinking. I wake up in the middle of the night worrying about things like . . . how I’m going to get through a lunch hour if Millie’s not around . . . and well, I suppose I can say it here can’t I? Since Pat Print’s writing class I have mostly been waking up thinking about Jidé Jackson’s smile.
I’m a doodler and a daydreamer and a night dreamer. The last few weeks it’s been, nightmares mostly, really bizarre stuff that freaks me out. Actually, I’ve been feeling a bit strange lately, it’s hard to say exactly how, but it feels like I’m walking a tightrope. I’m not sure what it is I’m going to fall off, but it definitely feels like I’m about to find out.
I am sitting in my Nana Josie’s flat, with the rest of my family gathered for the usual birthday tea. I would rather not be here. Mum and Dad have given me a mobile phone, a watch and a diary. The mobile is a sea-green pebble, and it fits perfectly in the palm of my hand. The watch has a black leather strap, glass face, silver edging and a number for each hour. It’s definitely my first grown-up watch and that somehow seems like a sign. I’m into signs, omens, superstitions . . . whatever you want to call them . . . mostly I call them ‘Notsurewho, Notsurewhat’. This watch makes me think that something is about to happen to time. Today feels like the end of something, and the countdown to the beginning, of this, my red leather diary with golden edging at the corners of each page.
‘Where are the dates?’ I ask Mum as I flick through the pages of the diary.
‘I thought you’d prefer to fill them in yourself. That way you can write as much or as little as you want and, knowing you, I expect you’ll want to add the odd artwork. When I used to keep a diary, some days I had nothing much to write about and other days I’d write pages. It’s more of a journal really . . . for your writing class.’
So I start writing, just like I would for any other piece of homework, because Pat Print’s told us to, only now I’ve found something to keep all my secrets wrapped up in I can’t stop, because no matter what’s happened to me before today, or what’s going to happen in the future, something is happening to me right now. Present tense.
Nana is inspecting my new mobile phone.
‘It’s quite pretty, I suppose, but I just don’t understand what the point of having a mobile phone is at your age . . . and I’m sure I read somewhere that the rays can cause tumours. Uma, have you checked that out?’ Nana calls out to Mum, in the next room. I don’t think Mum even hears, she’s too busy trying to get Laila to stay still while she changes her cacky nappy.
‘I mean who are you going to call? You’re always with your Mum and Dad or me anyway.’
Jidé Jackson . . . he’s the person I would most like to call, but I’ll never have the guts to actually do it.
‘Well?’ nudges Nana.
‘You, Mum and Dad, Millie, Aunt Abi, Nana Kath and Grandad Bimal,’ I list.
‘That’s five numbers. I rest my case.’
Nana Josie is quite hard to argue against, even if you really disagree with her, which I do, about the phone, but of course I don’t say anything. She has her feet up, resting on my knees. I smooth my hands over the skin of her cracked brown leather soles. On the sides of each foot, she has hard bony knobbly bits, bulging, where mine are smooth. Her feet are icy cold, like she’s just stepped out of the North Sea, but it isn’t cold. In fact, it’s a sunny day, the cherry blossom trees are out in the garden, like they are every year on my birthday . . . but Nana feels cold, because she’s so thin. She feels cold all the time these days.
About the author
Sita BrahmachariSita was born in Derby in 1966, to an Indian doctor from Kolkata and an English nurse from the Lake District. She has a BA in English Literature and an MA in Arts Education. Her many projects and writing commissions have been produced in theatres, universities, schools and community groups...
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I couldn't agree more to you guys. Sita is certainly a talented author and, as a few of you have already said, I can relate to her, being from an indian background and being 12. Sita's character, Mira, has really given me a real different perspective in life so i just want to say thank-you to her and her publisher and everyone else who made this book possible.
OMG, I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS BOOK! You would be CRAZZZZZYYY not to! Mira is such a strong character and she is my role model, I just HAD to write a review to let the gorgeous girls (maybe boys but I hope not!) know what they're missing out on if they don't read it! Even my DAD has just asked if he can read it! Luckily it's such a popular book, it's never at home any more because I am showing my friends what they have been missing out on! Thanks for reading and I hope you get the book, I PROMISE you that is is money VERY well spent! xxxxxxxxx
Oh my god i LOVED this book soooooo much!!!!!!!!!!!!
I loved this book sooooo much. It's all about 12 year old Mira Levenson who encounters a lot of changes in the space of a month. I think that Sita Brahmachari is a fantastic author as she really understands how you feel and at times I felt that I was inside the book. The whole book is very realistic and I love it!! Overall, it is one of my favourite books and I enjoy reading it over and over again
The book was absolutely amazing, I could hardly put the book down. I hope the second book is as good.
Artichoke Hearts is THE BEST BOOK I've ever read! Firstly, I could relate to Mira is so many ways; being 12 years old, living and going to school in North London, joining secondary school and coming from a partially Indian background. Nevertheless, we are also SO different, I am sporty, not shy, my nana's not dying, I do not have a little brother, I am not in love with Jide Jackson,I am not Mira Leverson. However, when I get lost in the world of this book, I feel like I am Mira. Secondly, I rarely read books written in the present tense, but after reading this book, I certainly will! It traps you in the moment, and makes you feel that Mira knows no more than you do; about Jide, or Nana, or Laila, and that there are no hidden secrets. Also, I never knew much about Rwanda before, but Jide's intruiging backstory made me Google it! Also, there are no magical or supernatural beings in the story, which lets people relate to Mira's everyday lifestyle, catastophes and enjoyments. The burning toast every morning, for example. That happens to everyone! When Nana died, I almost liked the fact that she did (not being horrible) because beloved people dying happens to everyone, including young teenaged girls, so it reassures readers that it is normal. I loved the big metaphor about the Artichoke being a real human heart. Sorry I've written so much, but this book is THE BEST I've read (better than Harry Potter!) by far. I was so pleased to hear that Jasmine Skies had come out. Please, Sita, write a whole series!!!!! I've recommended this book to all of my friends, and I read it by my friend telling me about it. AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
great book, you could sit for hours reading it !!!!!! i recomend to ages 11+. amazing a must read!!!!!!
I recomend this book to those who enjoy a good old read , this book moved me, i loved it i wouldn't move off the sofa untill i had read a whole chapter.i recommend ages 10+.
I am REALLY enjoying this book!!! It is really good but I haven't finished it yet.
It was a lovely book, couldn't put it down xx
I really, really like this book and I'm really glad I chose it to be my Booked Up book! This book is exciting, brilliant and sometimes it makes me want to cry I love it although I haven't read it all yet! So for now I give it a three star. xxx
Amazing, its the best book I've read so far. It was fun, exciting and gripping. I loved every page. Mira and her life sounded realistic and fun. A FABULOUS book that I would recommend to any girl my age.
Artichoke Hearts is emotional, funny and really good. You can really connect to Mira and it takes you through the troubles of everyday life as an almost-teen. I would recommend this book to girls over the age of 11.
My kind of book. Full of love, sadness, happiness and lots of cringes. Couldn't put the book down wanted to keep reading but the book ended. I would recommend the book to girl as the book is quite girly.
This book makes you laugh, cry, is about friendship, romance and bereaevment.You don't want to put it down and feel for Mira. I would definitely recommend it to someone else.
This book was fantastic I really enjoyed it. At times I laughed but the at other times I cried. Really good book
A very good book, reminded me of my own lifestyle!
Artichoke Hearts is a very emotional story about love. The diary that the girl in the book has to write tells me a lot about teenage life. This book made me laugh and cry. It is probably one of my favourite books of all time. I would recommend this book to all young readers who love a romantic story. It is definitely one to read!
This book is a fantastic book and I think that you need to read too.This book about a girl her name is Mira she is a very nice girl.One day there was a teacher in her school the teacher name was Miss Print Mira always asked her about her book and she always answeard her questions. If you read it you going to have fun. lili
Absolutely fab xxxx I loved it it was really touching and similar to my life and I rate it 5 !
I LOVE THIS BOOK!
This book was hard to get into first of all, but then I came to a good bit, and found I liked it after all. This book is a good book for girls who like reading.
I liked the book as it was very gripping. And the author made it out that the girl was real life and you were able to get into the book and understand what she was going through.
The cover looks really good but the story is reaally boring
It looks like a good book but don't fall for the cover! I found it quite boring and i wouldn't recommend it!
I think the book is gripping and emotional I would recommend this book to any girl. It also changed the way you feel about your friends and family (in a good way)!!! it is one of the best books i have ever read and i would read it again and again so i give it a 9 out of 10 and that's what i think of it!!!!!
i think artichoke hearts was an ok book but it was cheesy in places and the author dragged it out a bit and it was emotional when her dying grandma gave har a bracelet with a artichoke on it but i would recommend this to people that like emotional books.
I thought this book was very well written. Very easy to read. It is very realistic. Fun to read!
I thought this book was quite good but it got a bit boring in the middle when nothing happened
Really good book, can get boring sometimes
I haven't read a lot of this book yet just started it but I think its page turning a really must read if you're into the sort of things that go on in this book.
This book was one of my favourite books of all time , it nearly made me cry! It was so touching, and I think that Sita Brahmachari is a brilliant author. It was so good I couldn't my head out of it all week! I think this book is suitable for 11 year olds and over.
I found the book really good but it was so sad at times but I think everyone should read Artichoke Hearts! I found it good to know someone lives the same lifestyle as me! I would rate this book as 11+ because its a tricky story to get into! Overall I think this is a brilliant book! X
I found this book very touching and a good experience it is one of my fave books have read because it is similar to my life so I found it helpful to know someone lives the same lifestyle as me. I think I would nominate this book to girls aged 11 - 15 because its about a girl's lifestyle who lives the same as most of us girls would =D xx
Artichoke Hearts is a good book to read. It is a very interesting book to read and I plan to read more of Sita Brahmachari's books.
I thought that this book was ok but it wasn't the best that I've read
very good because the story gets better and better and near the end a surprise happens. I love this book so much I've read it twice!
I really liked this book because Nana Josie shows you that there is more to life than working all the time and never seeing your family!! It is a good insight into everyday life and even the people you think you know well, really have secrets that you could never have guessed!!!!
Its a great book, a story of Mira's life. It does have sad parts but overall its amazing. Not really for boys more for girls. I would recommend it.
I think that Atirchoke Hearts is amazing because it has a mixture of feelings; anger and sadness but as well love and hope. It is one of the best book I have ever read and I definitely recommend it to kids of ten and over.
Artichoke Hearts was quite a good book, it was a nice read but could be a bit boring and repeat the same thing over and over sometimes, it had some good plots/storylines although it wasn't very adventurous and the plot was a bit plain but it was very descriptive and I would say it was for girls age 11-13 From Katie :-)
Artichoke Hearts is a sad and sometimes funny story. It is about a 12 year old girl called Mira Levenson who's nan is dieing. It was an interesting book, and I will give it 5/5!!
I found the book interesting because at the begining the author tells me a bit about her self, which I have not seen in other books I have read before. The story was good because it was a bit of a mystery.
Artichoke Hearts is about an 11 year old girl called Mira Levenson. She lives with her sister Laila, her brother Krish, and her mum and dad. She is really close to her nana Josie who has got cancer. Like Josie, Mira is also good at art. On Mira’s 12th birthday her nana gives her a bracelet with and artichoke on it. Her nana Josie says that the layers on the outside of an artichoke are hard but on the inside it is soft.
I really enjoyed it it actually makes it feel that there is someone that can think about what you 11 years old like I'm eleven and this book is brilliant I'm turning 12 in Jan and I live a life like Mira you should either buy or kindle this book:)
I think Artichoke Hearts is a phenomenal book about sadness in life and happiness too! This book is amazing and is suitable for the ages 10+. I really recommend Artichoke Hearts for people with loving hearts!
I think this is an amazing book about Mira. She really lonely and has nobody really to talk to I love the way all her feelings come out in this book and the special bond she has with her nana. I think this book is fabulous and her relationship with her nana really shows. I also like when the writer Pat comes and she really expresses her feelings in her group. My personal favourite charactor is nana because the way she expressse her way through art.The way she is peaceful and the way that she will just laugh at anything.My 2nd favourite character is Mira because she is just like her nana.
Artichoke Hearts was an amazing sorrow reality which I loved. I couldn't put it down!!!!
I really enjoyed reading this book even though it was really sad at places and made me cry a bit and I quite enjoyed the part where Mira and Millie were at Millie's house and were playing on the dance mats.
I really enjoyed this book because it is a sad but happy story.12-year-old Mira has always looked up to her Nana Josie. Josie's health declines, Mira has to cope with the challenges of growing up, and letting go. I really enjoyed it and I would definitely recommend it.
I really enjoyed reading this book even though it was really sad at places because when the gran died it made me cry a bit and i quite enjoyed the part where Mira and Millie were at Millie's house and were playing on the dance mats.
I love Artichoke Hearts, its a book that makes you wanna know the ending. I like all of it, it tells you what Mira is feeling like and how she is going on in life. you should read this book and its amazing.x
Great book, had its sad moments and happy ones. I would recommend this book to only girls. About a girl called Mira and what happens to her in a month of her life.
I loved this book! It was amazing and made you feel like you were a part of the story. I would recommend it to anyone! I can't wait for the next one!!! I hope it's just as good as Artichoke Hearts!
This book is amazing, it's so emotional and while you read it the story comes alive, you feel like you're Mira.
I just got this book today from school and judging by this feed back/ reviews it is going to be a excellent book. I have read some of it and so far I think its a great book. I'm glad I picked it.
I thought it was good, it wasn't my favourite. I thought the characters were funny. Also Sita Brahmachari is a really good and fantastic author.
Great book, its like every normal day life going through natural changes. A delight to read, can't wait to finish!!
Yaaay, so lucky- got to meet the author in real life!! xx
this book is the best book I have read in a long long time I did want to cry at some parts of it but thats how I like the books that I read. I think I will try and find more of Sita Brahmachari books and give them as Christmas presents to all my teachers but one to my english teacher Miss Jackson!!!!! hope u enjoy it as much as I did!!!
I REALLY like Artichoke Hearts and is a good book for teenagers.I like this book because it is romantic and it feels like you are captured in Mira's world. If i rated this book out of 10 i would give it a 8.5 :)
I really enjoyed this book and I would really like to read some more of these books.I thought the thing that was really good about it was it felt like you were getting pulled inside the book.The age group for Artichoke Hearts is: 11+
I enjoy reading this book and I'm very happy I get to keep this book so that I can keep on reading it again and again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I think this book is amazing once I picked it I couldn't put it down again and it made me feel as if i was actually in the book!!!
This book was all right just a little bit boring at the start but it got better... :) xxx
I find this book REALLY good! The front cover is eye catching and it seems really gripping. It does seem like the author is talking about their child-hood because it is in so much detal!
this is a very interesting book I would recommend it to a friend !!
I am reading 'Artichoke Hearts',I don't like it, this is because I don't think the author understands a child's mind. If you read Jaqueline Wilson's books you would know what I mean. I think the reason for this is because there's no excitement in the story. A good book makes you want to read on into the story but this one doesn't!
WHAT I LIKED BEST When the Levenson family (Mira, her brother Krish, baby sister Laila, Uma, her Mum, and Her Dad; Sam. And, of course, Nana Josie!) are in the art shop, Dusty Bird's Art Shop, and Nana Josie, instead of saying just, blue, or green, she says the exact colours, for example: "...Ultramarine Blue Light, I think, Dusty" said Nana. And Dusty Bird Remembers her exact colours, too.
Its about family, friendship, grief and hope. Its about being a teenager and how things aren't private anymore. Its about life and how Mira (the main character) is losing her best friend and her nanna is dying of cancer. Also she is drifting away from her best friend and keeping quite a lot secrets from everyone, even her nanna who she found she could talk to about anything, but not that much anymore!!! Its also about having a boyfriend but keeping that a secret as well! Everything is spinning out of control.
In Artichoke Hearts I loved that there was a lot of mystery. There was always a lot going on so it seemed very realistic. It is a really good book.
Artichoke hearts is a story about a girl called Mira Levenson,aged 12,going through a lot at this time of life. She has been experiencing turning into a teenager,with spots,periods and she is falling in love with the dreamy Jide Jackson. But mira feels guilty because she is not sharing all of her secrets with her 'best friend' Millie, how will mira cope!? This book is the best, most realistic book i have ever read and i would definitely recommend it for every girl who enjoys a good book about a realistic teenage girls life!
Awesome book, just finished reading it. I wish I could choose a book every year, not just Y7!
Artichoke Hearts is a great book about an average teenage girl going through all the problems of a normal teenage life. Her family are going through tough times as her Nana is dying and things get even more complicated when she starts dreaming of Jide' Jackson a boy from her writing class. I loved this book as I empathised with the central character and would recommend it to anyone!!
I think Artichoke Hearts is really good. It has lots of emotions in it with her Nana Josie dying but you can tell there is "love in the air" between a boy-Jidé from school! This is a very good book and I would recommend this book to any 11-14year old girls, this is definitely not a boy's book!
It was a calm peaceful book and I enjoyed reading. I thought it was quite close to reality.
A very good book. When you read the blurb it looks really sad but..... When you start reading its the best book you have ever read. LOVE IT you must read it
can't wait to read it, it looks awesome
I think that Artichoke Hearts is a really good book and I really enjoyed reading it. I think that Sita Brahmachari is very good at writing books and I would love to read more of them!!! Georgia
The front cover really says a lot about the book and that why I like it so much!
This book is brilliant and I could read it all the time
"I really enjoyed this book, it was very interesting and pretty much reality for some people. I found it hard to get into at the beginning but after that I thoroughly enjoyed it!"
I like this book because it is really good and it sounds real life and it has a lot of activity.
I've only read about 3 pages and it is already really good, I'm so glad I got it!! :)
What I have heard it sounds really good. And it's sad. It will give me a chance to understand people's feelings. It looks beautifully written and looking at the cover now it is sad. Who would not like this book.
Sounds really sad but really great! I can't wait to start reading it.
At the beginning of the book I didn't find it that interesting but as it went on I couldn't take my eyes off of it. This book is amazing and I will read it over and over again. I recommend that you should read the book
Artichoke Hearts is a really sad story and is really gripping. I especially loved the painting part of the book.
This book started really boring for me however as it went along it got better. Unfortunately at the end it was boring again so over all I feel that it was boring :/
We really, really enjoyed Artichoke Hearts even though I haven't finished it yet. Our favourite character is Nana Josie because she is artistic and outspoken even though she is dying. We would recommend this book to girls age 11 - 15. We would really love to meet the author. One of the best books I have ever read! :)
I love Artichoke Hearts though I haven't finished it yet. It is really explaining how life at the age of 11 and 12 works not only for the character but for me as well. I can't wait to finish it and for those who haven't started it yet I recommend it.
This book was amazing it was like a rollercoaster sad bits then exciting .It is like a diary it sounds like someone's life.
This book was really good :-)
This book is really emotional but once you pick it up, it is very hard to put it down again. I think it is the best book that is on the voting page
I think it's a really good book it's like a fantasy book
I loved this book xxx It's very cool I think the author should write more books like these as a lot of children would like them xx thank you
I think it is a good book the bit i have read (chapter 1) and i am excited to read more beause it has all the things that I like.
I think you should recommend it for your child or adult, it is a very good book and somone could be going through the same as she is and you could get some advice on what to do if you don't know what to do!
I think Artickoke Hearts is an amazing book, and Sita Brahmachari is a fabulous author, based on reading this book, and many other lovely books she has written. I think the main character of the book Mira Levenson is going through what a lot of girls her age will be going through, and I think that I will definitely teach girls a lesson of what is coming in their future!
It's really great!!! Thanks xx